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 You are in: Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs > Bureau of Public Affairs: Press Relations Office > Press Releases (Other) > 2003 > February
Media Note
Office of the Spokesman
Washington, DC
February 7, 2003


Denver Artist Michelle Torrez to Visit Bulgaria with Department of State's Art in Embassies Program

Denver artist Michelle Torrez will travel to Sofia, Bulgaria, on February 14 as part of a new initiative, American Artists Abroad, recently launched by the Department of State’s Art in Embassies Program.

For almost 40 years, the Art in Embassies Program has been exhibiting original works of art by U.S. citizens in the public rooms of American diplomatic residences worldwide. Now, under the leadership of Director Anne Johnson, the Program is expanding its outreach and sending participating American artists to the foreign capitals where their works are displayed. The goal of this new initiative is to extend the art exhibitions beyond the walls of the residences into local communities.

Michelle Torrez, who creates expressionistic, figurative oil paintings, currently has two works on exhibit in U.S. Ambassador James W. Pardew’s official residence in Sofia. Metaphor is a vibrant, swirling scene of boxers in the ring while Night Owl on the Morning Train depicts a solitary, sleeping commuter. These works are part of a larger exhibition of fourteen paintings, which showcase American impressionism from the 19th century to present day. According to Ambassador Pardew, “We chose Michelle’s paintings because of the color, motion, and spirit of her work.”

Torrez will visit Bulgaria for two weeks, working with faculty and students from the National Art Academy of Bulgaria, as well as with professional and cultural leaders in Sofia. “Michelle's style of painting is very different from what is seen in Bulgaria. We think she will bring new ideas and techniques to the local art community. She will also have a chance to sample Bulgarian history and culture, and hopefully, return to Denver with some fresh ideas for her own work,” said Ambassador Pardew.

For her part, Torrez is eager to become an American Artist Abroad. “Being able to travel to Bulgaria and meet artists from another culture, get to know them, let them know me, share our ideas, share our cultures, far exceeds my dreams. What I hope to accomplish with this trip is a greater understanding of our similarities as artists and as people.”

Noting the importance of art for public diplomacy, Ambassador Pardew commented that: “The Art in Embassies Program provides an opportunity for citizens of Bulgaria to see excellent examples of American art. In a given month, over 500 people may visit the residence. While the residence is the official home of the U.S. Ambassador, it also represents America to our many guests, and it serves as a comfortable setting for official diplomatic events and discussions.”

Please visit http://aiep.state.gov for more information about Michelle Torrez and the Art in Embassies Program.

Contact: Elizabeth Ash, 703-875-4209 or AshE@state.gov


Released on February 7, 2003

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